Using Necessary Condition Analysis to Identify Essential HR Practices


An excellent review of the literature on strategic Human Resource Management shows that Necessary Condition Analysis can be used to move the field forward.

Strategic Human Resource Management is a term that describes all the Human Resource practices and activities that an organization uses to achieve its goals (Wright & McMahan, 1992). Together, these HR practices form a system in which synergies and complementarities between the practices improve the effectiveness of the system as a whole.

In a review of 496 studies on 516 HR systems published in the Journal of Management, Corine Boon, Deanne den Hartog, and David Lepak show that we do not yet fully understand the synergies and complementarities between HR practices. They explain why this is the case and offer recommendations to improve our understanding of HR practices and the relationships between them.

One of the suggestions they make is to use Necessary Condition Analysis (NCA) to determine which HR practices need to be present for the system to be effective or which practices are necessary to go from average to good performance (page 23). The reason is that we do not know which HR practices are essential, nonessential, or even counterproductive.

I think this is a perfect example of a case in which Necessary Condition Analysis can provide a valuable addition to the existing literature, while giving managers useful advice as well.

You can read the article “A Systematic Review of Human Resource Management Systems and Their Measurement” on the Journal of Management website.

A Systematic Review of Human Resource Management Systems and Their Measurement

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